Norwich Writers' Circle

Results Of The Ivy Ferari Cup

Tuesday 2nd May saw S.E Craythorne return to announce the winners of our fourth and last competition of the season – the Ivy Ferrari Cup.  The theme was ‘motherhood’.

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The winners were:

  • 1st place Iain Andrews with Judgement of Solomon.
  • 2nd Kim Lewis with The Sparrow.
  • 3rd Phyllida Scrivens with Especially When You Dance.

Congratulations to the winners!

The NWC would like to thank Sally for her superb adjudication.  We’d also like to thank everyone who entered the competition.

Our next meeting is 16th May.  Robert Welton, the Librarian at Jane Austen College and former bookseller, will give a talk about how his library is designed to encourage reading, what type of books youngsters read these days as well as his views on the future of printed books.

We hope to see you there!

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Norwich Writers' Circle

Don’t Be A Stranger To Your Voice

It’s official!  On Tuesday 18th April, we officially launched this year’s Olga Sinclair Open Short Story Competition.  We were joined by Ralph Jackman, our adjudicator, Frank Meeres, author of Strangers: A history of Norwich’s incomers, and Charles Wilde, marketing and development manager for Norfolk Museums Service, who have kindly agreed to assist us with the competition this year.

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First, Frank Meeres gave a fascinating talk on some of the mysterious and intriguing ‘incomers’ into Norwich.

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Then it was up to our adjudicator to offer advice to prospective entrants:

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“I’m afraid, that if you have come today to glean what it is that the adjudicator will be looking for, or what kind of writing I like, then I’m afraid I’m not going to be very helpful.  Because the answer is I like such a wide range of writing, just as I do with music … When something’s good, it’s good.  It stands out.  It captures the reader.  It lingers in the memory afterwards.  So I encourage everyone, whatever their style, to give it their best, no one can ask more, but also to have the courage to submit.”

– Ralph Jackman

Ralph went on to detail his take on the theme, what sorts of images or ideas it conjured for him:

“A brief google of ‘stranger’ led me to the following: A person whom one does not know or with whom one is not familiar; A person who does not know, or is not known in a particular place or community; A person entirely unaccustomed to a feeling experience of situation.  What a broad palette this allows us … The first thing that crossed my mind, is how we were all strangers once, even to those who love us the most, not just our partners,  but our mums and dads, our brothers and sisters, our best friends.

How do we move from stranger, to dear friend?  Is there something there, to be explored?

Then in the news, Prince Harry spoke of the need to speak about his grief “even to a total stranger” and I thought, what is it about strangers, that we can open up to them? Why is it, that we can share with them our deepest secrets or worst pain?

What other opportunities does meeting a stranger bring? A chance to start again? A chance to pretend, to assume a different persona.

People deliberately move, uproot their entire lives, in order to become a stranger, as a means to start again, to protect themselves from painful memories, or distance themselves from sins of the past.

So being a stranger can, on the one hand, feel lonely, isolated, even frightening.  But on the other hand, it can be desired, wanted, liberating.  Celebrities might seek to be a stranger, to escape the recognition, and they haven’t necessarily sinned … Then I thought how interesting it is, that even in the modern world, with the internet, mobile phones and the like, it’s still possible to be a stranger.  The mask of the internet allows people to hide who they really are.”

– Ralph Jackman

So in short, there is no secret formula that will pique the adjudicator’s interest.  The best way to set yourself above other entrants is to write the story you want to tell and tell it well.  The theme of ‘strangers’ allows for a variety of different interpretations and there are countless ways to explore it.

“I am open to all styles and all genres. 2000 words is not a large number, but it’s enough to change a reader’s life … This does not mean your stories must make the world a better place but perhaps it needs to have entertained, or been thought-provoking – something that makes it an experience … Don’t try to second-guess what I might like. Write a story that you want, in the manner that you want it to be told.  Ultimately, don’t be a stranger to your voice.”

– Ralph Jackman

With this in mind, we wish all entrants the best of luck!

For full details of the competition, including terms and conditions, please visit the competition page.

Remember if your entry wins, not only do you have the chance to win a cash prize, but also see your work in print in a future anthology.

The anthology containing the winning entries of the 2015 and 2016 competitions is available to buy at our meetings or online at: http://www.lulu.com/shop/various-authors/norwich-writers-circle-anthology-2017-stepping-out/paperback/product-23103350.html

Copies are £7 each plus postage (where applicable).

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The NWC would like to thank Frank Meeres for giving his talk, the Norfolk Museum Services for their generous offer of help – particularly Charles for coming to the gala and for his steadfast support.  Finally, we would like to thank Ralph Jackman for his enthusiasm and thoroughness, as well as for agreeing to be our adjudicator.

Norwich Writers' Circle

Rib-Tickling Results

Local author Sheridan Winn returned on Tuesday 7th February to announce the winners of the Colin Sutton Cup for Humour.

The winners were:

1st Place –  Aubrey Hex: Snow White and the Ruby Slippers by Kathy Joy.

Sheridan’s comments:

‘Excellent blurb that built well and would make you want to pick up the book. Liked the over-sized ‘fairy-come-private-investigator’, Aubrey, and the grim sense of humour.  The intro set the scene and I liked the way you were straight into the action.’

2nd Place – Butterfingers Horses Around by James Ashley.

Sheridan’s comments:

‘This made me smile – a bit like a rude post card.  The author of this was clearly having fun as he wrote it – rollicking along.  The blurb is loopy and mad – I get the idea of where the story will go and the setting.  I think it’s pitched at older kids and young adults.

The intro is amusing but – in terms of writing – there’s a danger of putting in too many images and over-writing. ‘Purr’ doesn’t need 15 x ‘r’!’

3rd Place – Captain Webby and the Bathtub Crew by Phyllida Scrivens.

Sheridan’s comments:

‘Good series title and nice book title.  It would make a charming series of picture books for very young children – bath/board books.  Gentle humour.

Very well written blurb – clear and made me want to pick up the book.  Love the photos.’

 

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From left to right: 1st place winner Kathy Joy, adjudicator Sheridan Winn and 3rd place winner Phyllida Scrivens.

Congratulations to the winners!

All the entries were superb.  It wasn’t easy for our adjudicator to pick the winners, so we’d like to thank all those who entered and also thank Sheridan Winn for her thorough judging.

On top of getting to hear some rib-tickling entries, attendees were given the chance to look at and purchase copies of Stepping Out, our new anthology.

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The NWC would like to thank everyone who has bought one so far.

If you are interested in a copy you can purchase them at our meetings, or online at:

http://www.lulu.com/shop/various-authors/norwich-writers-circle-anthology-2017-stepping-out/paperback/product-23019691.html

Our next meeting is a manuscript evening on Tuesday 21st February where you will get a chance to read an extract of up to 750 words of work and get feedback from the group.

If you are coming, please bring six copies of your extract to the meeting so they can be handed out for feedback.  You can bring poetry, non-fiction, fiction, an article or blog post.  Whatever it is, we’d love to read it.

If you have any questions, feel free to get in touch: norwichwriters@hotmail.co.uk

We hope to see you then!

Norwich Writers' Circle

The Anthology Is Ready

We are pleased to announce that Stepping Out, our new anthology, is finally ready.  Anyone who filled in our interest form should be contacted shortly.

We can confirm the cost is £7.00 plus postage (where applicable).

Books will now be available to buy at our meetings.  Alternatively, you can order them online:

http://www.lulu.com/shop/various-authors/norwich-writers-circle-anthology-2017-stepping-out/paperback/product-23019691.html

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Norwich Writers' Circle

A Promising Proposition

On Tuesday 17th January we had our first meeting of 2017.  We kicked the new year off with a bang when our very own Phyllida Scrivens and Gill Blanchard launched the third competition of the year: Impressing the Publisher.

To begin, Gill and Phyllida offered some excellent advice on how to create a proposal with a good hook that will pull the publisher or agent in, offering samples of their own proposals to help.

The evening was capped off with a workshop.  First we wrote the start of our proposal synopsis, focusing on ‘the hook’. Gill and Phyllida advised that the hook could be a quote, the first couple of sentences or short an extract from the book that conveys something of what it is about and makes the reader want to know more.

Next came the hard part: giving and taking criticism from the group.  This went very well, with many participants receiving helpful pointers and suggestions from their peers.

Finally, Gill and Phyllida rolled out the competition.

To enter the competition you must submit a proposal for either a fiction or non-fiction book.  The guidelines are as follows:

1,000 words maximum

These 1000 words should consist of:

1). Synopsis: 200 – 300 words

  • Chapter outline & synopsis of plot/premise

2). Author Biography: 50 to 100 words

3). Marketing 50 to 100 words

  • Concept, audience, social media

4). Sample (remainder up to 1,000 words)

  • If you choose to submit a proposal for non-fiction, your sample should consist of a detailed chapter plan.
  • If your proposal is for a fiction story, your sample should be an extract from first chapter.

The maximum size of your sample will depend on how many words you used for the synopsis, author biography and marketing.

For example, if your synopsis is 250 words, your biography 100 words and your is marketing is 50 words, you will have used 400 of your 1000 words, leaving you 600 words for your sample.  There is no minimum for the sample, so you could write less than the amount of words you have left, but you need to ensure that what you have written has a good hook and captures your story.

Phyllida and Gill also offered a little advice on what publishers and agents are looking for when considering a proposal:

  • Originality.
  • Fresh voice and new insight.
  • Why you, and only you, can write this particular story.

If you want to enter the competition, email your entry to norwichwriters@hotmail.co.uk

The deadline is 21st February.  For more details visit the contest page.

Norwich Writers' Circle

Competition 1 Winners

On Tuesday 6th December, Norwich Writers’ Circle welcomed back Dr. Susan Burton to adjudicate our first competition of the 2016-17 season.  The competition was to write a personal profile or non-fiction character study and the winner would be awarded the Annual Past Search Prize for Non-Fiction sponsored by Gill Blanchard of www.pastsearch.co.uk.

After a thorough and comprehensive assessment of the entries, including an invaluable tip on detecting the difference between Personal Memory and Collective Memory during an interview, Dr. Burton announced the winners.

  • 1st  Phyllida Scrivens with ‘Christopher’, a study of a man with Down’s Syndrome who spent a year of his life as official consort to the Lord Mayor of Norwich.
  • 2nd Anne Funnell  with ‘The Hernia Hedge’, a study of Mary Manning, Norfolk Gardener who kept records for over 60 years of when certain plants first flower each year and who had visited Anne’s garden to identify plants.
  • 3rd Maureen Nisbet with ‘Victoria Refused to Fall’, a study of a woman called Joan from Leamington and her life during WW2.  In the discussion afterwards Maureen admitted that Joan was her mother.

The authors read their entries aloud to the meeting, followed by a humorous reading by Iain Andrews of a fictional magazine interview with medieval character Will Kemp.

The entertaining evening finished with the raffle and refreshments.

Our next meeting is Saturday 17th December and it will be our Christmas party!  There will be drinks and a buffet.  The party will be held from 4pm -7pm in our usual spot in Anteros.  Members and guests are more than welcome.  There will also be a raffle with some fantastic prizes up for grabs.

We hope to see you there!

 

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Chairman Phyllida Scrivens, winner of the Past Search Prize for Non-Fiction 2016-17

 

 

 

Norwich Writers' Circle

A ‘Sprited’ Evening

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On Tuesday 1st November we had the immense pleasure of welcoming Sheridan Winn, author of the Sprite Sister books, to our meeting.

As part of her talk, Sheridan regaled us with the story of how she came to write The Sprite Sisters.  After a tale fraught with twists and turns, we moved on to discuss our next competition of the season – the Colin Sutton Cup for Humour.

First, it has been decided that the competition will be expanded to include stories for any age group rather than just a children’s book.  The competition is now as follows:

Devise a title, possible sub-title, and all-important blurb for a humorous book.  Then write the first 250 words of the story.

Guidelines

Your entry should consist of:

  • A title and possible sub-title.
  • A blurb no more than 150 words long.
  • No more than the first 250 words of your story.

 Advice from Sheridan:

Title and Sub-title

  • Titles shouldn’t be too much of a mouthful – roughly 2-3 words long is preferable.
  • Subtitles should qualify the title and be similarly short.

 What makes a good blurb?

  • It should make anyone picking it up think they are going to have fun reading your story.
  • Your character(s) should feature in it.
  • Readers should be able to get a sense of your character’s world.
  • It should also address what your protagonist wants and what is stopping them from getting it.

Sheridan also helpfully gave some examples of book blurbs that she really liked to help illustrate exactly what she is looking for in a winning entry:

  • Jonathan Unleashed by Meg Rosoff
  • Thrice the Brinded Cat Hath Mew’d by Alan Bradley

 The first 250 words

  • It is best to start with the inciting incident as this grabs the reader.  If you cannot intrigue the reader on the first page, your book will be put down.
  • Keep to the point and cut out long descriptions.
  • Create something that is adventurous but also fun.

Finally, let’s not forget that this is the Colin Sutton Cup for Humour.  What kind of humour is Sheridan looking for?  In short, she would prefer quirky, witty humour over ‘belly laughs’.

The deadline for the competition is 6th December 2016.

All entries must be submitted on one side of A4, double spaced.  Work to be unpublished and not entered into previous Circle competitions.

To submit your entry, please email them to: norwichwriters@hotmail.co.uk or bring them along to a meeting.

Entry fee is £3 for non-members but free for all NWC members.  Remember, all entries will receive an expert critique from our adjudicator.

The NWC would like to thank Sheridan for her wonderful and informative talk, and her excellent advice.

We would also like to thank everyone who attended the meeting.  It was wonderful to see you all!

Our next meeting is on Tuesday 15th November, where we will be joined by Peter Stibbons, owner of Poppyland Publishing.  Peter will  be talking about the interaction of new media in the digital age with the traditional printed word.

We hope to see you there!

Norwich Writers' Circle

Olga Sinclair Open Short Story Competition 2016 Anthology

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During the prize giving gala for the Olga Sinclair Open Short Story Competition 2016, not only did we announce the winners, but we also revealed our plans to release an anthology.

It will contain:

  • The winning entries of the Olga Sinclair Open Short Story Competition 2016.
  • The shortlisted entries for the Olga Sinclair Open Short Story Competition 2016.
  • The winning entries of the Olga Sinclair Open Short Fiction Competition 2015.

The estimated price of the anthology is £7.

Copies will be available to order in time for Christmas.  Further updates will be posted on our website and Facebook page!

Norwich Writers' Circle

The Results Are In!

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On Tuesday 18th October, we were pleased to announce the winners of the Olga Sinclair Open Short Story Competition 2016.   There was a huge turnout to the gala where we had five of the ten shortlisted entrants with us.

Before we announce the winners, the NWC would like to take a moment to thank everyone who entered the competition.  It certainly wasn’t easy for Rachel Hore, our adjudicator, to pick just ten stories from the 139 entries we received.  It was even harder for her to pick the three winners.

Now, without further ado, the winners of the Olga Sinclair Open Short Story Competition  2016 were:

 

The Winners:

1st Place:  Mary Outram from Headingley, Leeds.
Story Title: Boots
A contemporary tale of aid workers in Iraq.

2nd Place: Sarah Evans from Welwyn Garden City, Herts.
Story Title: Clatter of Love
A social tale of separation and a tug of love.

3rd Place: Mickie Dann from Norwich.
Story Title:  Save Your Soul
A story inspired by meeting a refugee while on holiday in Italy.  Mickie is a long-time member of Norwich Writers’ Circle.

The runners up (in no particular order):

Jonathan Bowman from Coltishall, Norfolk.
Story Title: The Rawi.

Anne Pearce from Attleborough.
Story Title:  The Creative Writing Class

Sue Ryder Richardson from Framlingham, Suffolk.
Story Title:  Twisted Feet

Bridget Bowen from Beccles, Suffolk.
Story Title:  The Last Dance.

Sarah Isaac from Perthshire, Scotland.
Story Tile:  Souterrain.

Judith Drazin from Bristol.
Story Title:  The Reunion.

Sandy Norris from Malden in Essex.
Story Title:  New Shoes

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Runners-up Jonathan Bowman, Sue Ryder Richardson, Anner Pearce and Bridget Bowen, with 3rd place winner Micki Dann, Adjudicator Rachel Hore and Jason Larke from Van Dal Shoes.

 

Why did Rachel choose these particular stories?  In her own words:

“The stories I recruited for the shortlist were usually ones that engaged me from the first paragraph or even the first line.  Where I was quickly drawn into the character’s world and made to care what happened to them.  Even the lighter tales among them I chose because between the lines of entertaining narrative the offered truth; some striking observations of, or a slant of human behaviour.”

The NWC would like to congratulate the winners!  Your entries were memorable, expertly crafted tales.  It is easy to see why they were the pick of the bunch.

If anyone is interested in reading any of these amazing stories, we are going to be producing an anthology which will contain all of the shortlisted stories of 2016 plus the top three of 2015.  It will be released mid-November with an estimated price of £7.  If you are interested in buying a copy, keep your eyes on this website and our Facebook page for updates.

Finally, the NWC would like to thank everyone who attended the prize giving.  It was wonderful to see you.

We would also like to extend our thanks and appreciation to Rachel for all her hard work and excellent adjudication.  Given the high caliber of the entries, we know it wasn’t easy!

If you didn’t win, don’t worry; we will be hosting another competition next year.  The theme will be ‘Strangers’.  Once again, keep an eye on this website and Facebook for details.

Our next meeting is on Tuesday 1st November.  Sheridan Winn, author of the Sprite Sister books, will be joining us to help us launch our second competition of the season, The Colin Sutton Cup for Humour.  We hope to see you there!

Norwich Writers' Circle

Olga Sinclair Open Short Story Competition Gala

WordPress Olga Sinclair Open Short Story Competition Logo 2016The wait is over …

On Tuesday 18th October, we will be announcing the winners of the Olga Sinclair Short Story Competition at Anteros Arts Foundation.

To celebrate, a light buffet will be served, and a raffle with some fantastic prizes to be won will be held.

The doors open at 7pm with the main event kicking off at 7:30PM.  You are welcome to bring a guest with you.  The more the merrier!

A door fee of £5 for visitors, £3 for members applies.

We hope to see you there!